The Art of being Pagan

Imagine you’re on your way to your regular Sunday morning church service. You rock up, maybe with a family, maybe not, and head inside. You have your art bag and there are still a few places left at the tables.

Wait… art bag? tables? What happened to rows of pews and a church service? Well when was the last time you crafted something new and meaningful with your own hands in a church event? I bet it was when you were last in Sunday School.

One thing that is abundantly clear is that a Christian worship event is actually really rather passive compared to a pagan event. Full moon circles are designed for everyone to participate and to a large extent don’t work if someone sits out. Church services are structured more like a performance with a handful of people shouldering the burden of that. Pagan celebrations will usually involve hand-crafts, Christian celebrations usually do not. It is even an event in itself if items of any sort are even handed out at a church service.

Why is this?

Pagan rituals often require personal effort in a way that praying in a mainstream evangelical church does not. The notion of individualising the work is important and even referred to as magickal and participants will usually value and thus keep the token created, whether they’ve spent two hours or two minutes over it. It is a natural part of the ritual. I’ve been a part of church services where there have been interactive pieces, usually along the lines of writing a response on a slip of paper. These are often not valued afterwards by their participants who rarely know what to do with them.

I sometimes wonder what my church could be like if it picked up some of the art tasks that my pagans do. I know a church would never create rune stones, but there are other Christian symbols they could create with clay. You’d have to solve the problem of children being around and not understanding the exercise, although now that I think about it, it could be an incredible learning experience for them. That does mean the adults would have to take it seriously and reverently. I’ve seen in the churches I’ve been in that that’s difficult.

Another difference in attitude between Christians and pagans, I guess. And one that dabbling in art won’t solve.


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